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It wasn’t just the course that had rocky patches, twists and turns on Leg 2 of Australasian Safari today, where competitors had a huge 667 kilometres in three competitive stages racing from Kalbarri to Gascoyne Junction in Western Australia.

Motos

There were only six seconds separating moto leader Todd Smith and Leg 1 leader Rod Faggotter by the end of the day.

Smith said he was surprised at how fast Faggotter was riding.  “I rode my ass off in the last stage today and only beat Rod by one second,” he said.  “We made adjustments to my bike overnight to cater for the softer sand which might have slowed me down a bit.  There were lots of twists, turns and crests in the last stage.  I’m feeling good for tomorrow.”

Faggotter said the day improved for him stage by stage.  “There was lots of moisture this morning, making the sand heavy and testing out the bikes.  Bikes and riders were working hard in the first stage.  I enjoyed the last stage more.  The bike’s going well, nothing’s broken and the mechanics will just do a routine check tonight.”

Matt Fish is sitting in third place in the motos.  “I had a good day, but lost a bit of time from the leaders by making a navigation error in the second stage but only lost a couple of minutes.  The bike’s going really well and I’m feeling good.”

Shane Diener is the fastest of the Dakar Challenge entries and currently in outright fourth position and said he didn't push it today.  “I had a steady ride and took it easy.  Psychologically I felt good when I rode past the place I crashed last year.  The bike’s going real good.”

Rally champion Alister McRae held his seventh position. “I dropped a little time this morning - I stopped to help Warren Strange after he waved me down, and towed him the last 10km of the first stage.  I didn't really enjoy the first stage, it was hard work and hard on the bike, but the last stage was really good.”  He said his navigating was getting better day-by-day.  “Riding is more mentally and physically exhausting than driving in a rally.”

Autos

It was a dramatic day for some in the autos with Car 100 – Kees Weel and John Panozzo tracking well until they hit ruts in the third stage and barrel-rolled the Holden Colorado.  Weel walked away with minor injuries.

The lead changed by the end of the Leg with the Cairns Coconut Resort Racing team of Geoff Olholm and Gordon Trigg finishing the day with ten minutes ahead of the pack.  “We had a great day. The car went well, it was really fast in the morning and tighter and more technical this afternoon.  We passed a few bikes and quads and had a lot of fun out there.”

Yesterday’s leaders Dave McShane and Bill Hayes had a more eventful day, moving into second place.  Hayes said they got it right by the third stage.  “We broke the drive shaft with 70km to go in the first stage and only had front wheel drive for the rest of the stage.  In the second stage we were going too fast, hit a rock, and got a flat tyre.  But the last stage was good and we’re here.”

Rob Herridge is enjoying the speed a new gearbox has brought to the Subaru Forester since last year’s Safari.  “We drove fast all day.  We started off in seventh and finished in fifth and had a faultless run.”

It wasn’t such a great day for the side-by-side entries with all retiring with mechanical issues.

Quads

John Maragozidis on his 2010 MMR Interceptor finished the day nine minutes over his nearest rival.
“I broke an exhaust bracket and overheated, but otherwise had a good day.  It’s all ok, its just the normal stuff Safari dishes out.”

Heath Young in second place said he was feeling great.  “I had a good day, I got the navigation scroll working for today.  I broke a fuel line in the last stage and had fuel leaking all over my foot.  I stopped and replaced the fuel line fitting, made sure it was working and kept going.”

Leg 2 of the Australasian Safari began with 50km of well-travelled coastal tracks heading north, which in places were rough, sandy and rocky.  It changed to low scrub coastal country including Nerrin Nerrin and Coburn Stations. The first stage finished with a rally-type road known as ‘Snake Road’ heading into the Hamelin Service Area.

In Stage 2 competitors tackled sandy tracks, rough and rocky patches, low swamp fences, fencelines and ‘mill runs’ through Hamelin, Carbla, Yaringa and Wooramel Stations. Stage 3 provided more twist and turns then dune country into Jimba Jimba Station, finishing up with a mixed bag of tight twisty tracks, narrow fence tracks and low creek country.

The second leg of the Australasian Safari is made possible thanks to Motorola Rental Solutions, providing the event with a world class communications system which does everything from competitor tracking to general and emergency communications.

The Australasian Safari, from 20 to 27 September 2013, is a seven-day endurance race that sees competitors travel mainly off-road tracks through the outback of Western Australia. The event is known as one of the toughest and most challenging motorsport events in the world. This year’s course is approximately 3200km through the mid west of Western Australia.

For more information on Australasian Safari and the latest results visit www.australasiansafari.com.au. Updates are available on Facebook and Twitter at @austsafari and check out the video updates on our YouTube channel – AustralasianSafari.

The Western Australia Government sponsors the Australasian Safari through Eventscorp, a division of Tourism WA.

Leg 2 results – Top 10

Moto

Todd Smith   05:00:05
Rodney Faggotter   05:00:11
Matt Fish  05:05:58
Shane Diener   05:12:05
Lee Stephens   05:16:02
Vernon Strange   05:19:21
Russell Scoble   05:25:50
Alister McRae   05:29:46
Ivan Erceg   05:31:08
Warren Strange   05:31:11

Auto
Olholm/Trigg   07:48:43
McShane/Hayes   07:58:12
Harrington/Harrington   08:11:12
Purshouse/Mortimer  08:11:32
Herridge/Hill   08:12:51
Travis/Travis 08:19:26
Denham/Topliff   08:31:36
Jerie/Watman   08:39:58
Owen/Cairns  08:48:02
Schofield/Baker  09:00:21
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